Leveraging Facebook Ads During COVID-19

Not only has COVID-19 driven dramatic changes to our typical routines and ways of working, it has also changed how people use Facebook’s apps. Facebook has reported seeing spikes in usage of their apps; however, they are also seeing a significant decrease in ad spend. This is great for advertisers, as there are more users on the platform, and less competition in the ad space.

The COVID-19 crisis has specifically impacted Facebook’s messaging apps, with more than a 50 percent increase reported globally. While the increase in feeds and stories hasn’t been as large as the messaging increase, Facebook reported that they have seen record usage on their platforms nearly every day.

What does all of this mean for brands who are active on these platforms?

  • Lower CPMs can provide a unique opportunity:
    • Less advertising on Facebook = less competition. This means the bid rates on Facebook are lower as it is a true marketplace in terms of bidding.
  • Ads should be run using Auto Placements:
    • We always recommend Auto Placements to ensure ads are shown in the places they’re likely to perform best. But with usage being so high on Facebook’s messaging platforms, ads need to run not only in feeds, but also on Messenger, Stories, etc. This also means ads need custom creative for each placement so audiences on those platforms see the ad in a way that fits the placement.

Since consumers are spending an increased amount of time on Facebook’s apps, the platform is active with the target audiences that brands want to reach. In addition, the platform is an ideal place to run multiple messages to test effectiveness and quickly change messaging depending on the situation. Being nimble is a requirement to successfully navigate rapidly changing market conditions, especially as states and even individual counties within them, reopen at a different pace.

While all businesses can benefit from Facebook advertising, those that are open and actively serving their customers, even if through modified services, should maintain their advertising spend on Facebook’s platforms. These businesses include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Those offering delivery or pick-up services like dine-in restaurants or bars that are offering to-go beverages when they usually are on-premise only.
  • Businesses with apps their customers can use (such as mobile banking or mobile fitness apps).
  • Those that desire to drive awareness may want to send a new message about their brand or a specific crisis-related communication to their customers or perhaps to an even wider audience in their geographic area.
  • Others who don’t fall into the above categories can still benefit from maintaining a presence on Facebook. For example, offering gift card sales or communicating what actions are being taken to prepare for a safe reopening can help brands stay top of mind with their audience.

At the height of the crisis, many brands pivoted their messaging to be more relevant and show empathy with their customers and followers, putting solutions before sales. As the progressive re-emergence unfolds, consumers will increasingly want to hear non-pandemic related messaging. Facebook continues to be a good platform to share these types of messages as stay-at-home orders are relaxed and more businesses begin to reopen. And, the reduced competition for ad space lets you stretch your marketing dollars further.